As the holidays approach, so do lay-offs in the Hartford Courant’s circulation customer-service center where at least 20 employees will be given the boot on Dec. 8. Their work, as previously reported by the newspaper, will be outsourced to the Philippines.
The Hartford Courant reported in August that the Courant’s call center work will be outsourced to APAC Customer Services, Inc., which is based in Deerfield, Illinois, with operations in the Philippines. In order to minimize the effect on workers, the Department of Labor’s Rapid Response Team, made up of members from various state agencies will go to the Courant’s Broad Street offices next week to assist the employees with finding new job opportunities. Nancy Steffens, spokeswoman for the Department of Labor, said Tuesday that since the number of lay-offs was under 50 employees it didn’t require the company to send out a notice. She said the agency was made aware of the lay-offs when it read about it in the newspaper this August. The lay-offs are all part of helping the newspaper parent’s company Tribune save more than $300,000 in expenses. According to the August article, “The Courant’s parent, seeks to reduce costs by $200 million in two years.” But the money hungry media giant may not be as inhumane as they seem. Steffens said it was receptive to having the Rapid Response Team come in and help its employees. Hartford Courant President Steve Carver wrote in a memo to employees Nov. 11 that in addition to the call-center lay-offs it would eliminate 8 “supervisory and non-supervisory employees”, three of which were in the news department, as well as 12 positions vacant through attrition.“The previously announced circulation call center outsourcing will further contribute to the position reductions. General expense reductions will affect travel, entertainment, property lease costs and outside expenses,” Carver wrote in the memo. “The cuts come amid circulation and advertising declines at Tribune newspapers and a weakened stock price,” the Courant reported in August.